Japan fun facts

The Creative Canvass Japan fun facts

Traveling is one of my greatest loves, and last year I finally went to Japan, which has been on my travel bucket list FOREVER!

Here’s some cool things I discovered whilst I was there:

Hotels and bullet trains

  • Check in times are strictly adhered to. If check in’s at 2pm and you arrive even just 10 minutes before, you still must wait
  • The Mizoni Shinkansen from Fukuoka to Hiroshima went at a speed of 300km/hr!

Language barriers

  • If you place a food order in English, it will get repeated back to you in Japanese
  • The best way to order is to point at what you want on the menu, then hold up the number of fingers that you’d like to order the meal in. I called this my point and pray system
  • My point and pray system didn’t always work. I was eating what I thought was a plum bun, only to discover that it was actually a red bean bun! It was still delicious though
  • Even though their English isn’t strong, the Japanese try really hard to understand you. I had people trying to help me at train stations when I was lost

It’s clean everywhere, all the time!

  • Everything is so clean – it’s great
  • I even saw train station employees vacuuming concrete station stairs

Everything’s hidden

  • If you’re looking for something in particular you’ll never find it. The best thing to do is put your map away and just explore
  • Many shops were hidden in what appeared to be commercial buildings. So if you see an escalator jump on and see where it leads. I found many shops, great restaurants, and department store food basements this way

Bowing

  • Bus station employees bow to the bus on its approach, and when it leaves
  • The number and how high or low you bow depends on relationships. For example, you bow at a higher height with friends, compared to colleagues or managers

Food

  • Everything’s so small
  • Kit Kats are packaged to look big, but once opened contain four fun size packs
  • Soft drink cans and cigarettes are also very small
  • If ordering soy milk some places give you a soy card, which you hand over when you pick your coffee up

Shopping

  • If there’s curtains in front of a store and they’re closed, it means the store’s closed
  • I never saw any seats or bins. I was told all bins were removed post 9/11

Shrine cleansing ritual

  • All shrines have a purification tori gate, which once passed through signifies that you have stepped into the domain of the deity, and that you have purified your emotional state
  • Bow before entering the tori gate and walk to the side when passing through, as the centre is where the deity passes through
  • Just before the shrine you’ll see a water pavilion station, which is for body and mind purification. Here is where you wash away heart and physical impurities
  • Here’s what to do when you reach these:
    • Scoop water into the ladle with your right hand, pour some water over your left hand
    • Place the ladle in your left hand, pour some water over your right hand
    • Pour some water into your left hand and rinse your mouth, don’t touch the ladle to your mouth
    • Rinse your mouth and spit the water to the outside of the station
    • Use the remaining water to rinse the ladle off
  • You only scoop water into the ladle once, at the first step of the process

I absolutely loved Japan and highly recommend you go. I wish I was there right now!

If you’d like to see my other Japan posts, here’s the links:

A tour of Fukuoka Japan

A tour of Hiroshima Japan

A tour of Kobe Japan

A tour of Osaka Japan

A tour of Kyoto Japan

A tour of Tokyo Japan

Please also feel free to visit my Japan Pinterest board.

(This blog’s previous name was The Creative Canvass, hence why the image in this post is labelled www.thecreativecanvass.com)

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